Crew members grounded after testing positive on alcohol tests

January 3, 2012

Crew members in India and the Netherlands were grounded after testing positive for alcohol.

In Mumbai, India pre-flight alcohol tests on New Year’s Eve showed that three cabin crew members and one co-pilot were under the influence of alcohol. The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reported that “At present, they cannot operate a flight for three months. We are going through records of previous offenders. If any of them feature in that list, their licence would be cancelled.”

The DGCA had conducted similar surprise checks on December 25, 2011. However, none of 333 flight attendants and pilots tested then were found to be under the influence of alcohol.

On January 2, 2012 a cabin attendant of a U.S. airline was not allowed to fly when a test showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0,48 permille (0.048 percent) with a legal limit of 0,2 permille. She was fined 1000 Euros and grounded for twelve hours.

Sources: Hindustan Times; De Volkskrant


FAA proposes $777,000 civil penalty against Horizon Air

December 10, 2011

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $777,000 civil penalty against Horizon Air Industries for allegedly operating 32 Bombardier DHC-8-400 Dash 8 turboprop aircraft on 49,870 flights when the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleged Horizon installed new external lighting systems on the aircraft, but did not conduct required tests for radio frequency and electromagnetic interference before returning the aircraft to service. Horizon operated the aircraft between Oct. 19, 2009 and Mar. 17, 2010, before the FAA discovered the compliance problems during routine surveillance. Horizon immediately completed tests and inspections of all 32 aircraft before further flights.

Horizon Air has 30 days from receipt of the civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.


FAA proposes $180,000 civil penalty against Evergreen International Airlines

November 21, 2011

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $180,000 against Evergreen International Airlines, Inc, of McMinnville, OR, for allegedly operating aircraft on seven flights in 2009 when the pilots on those flights had not been trained in accordance with the airline’s approved training program.

The FAA alleged Evergreen failed to conduct the appropriate required familiarization flights involving the use of the flight management system on the company’s Boeing 747s before assigning those individuals to revenue flights on those aircraft.  The training program specifically calls for familiarization flights in Class I and Class II airspace.  Class I airspace includes ground-based navigation aids; Class II is airspace without ground-based aids, such as over an ocean.  Evergreen provided only the Class I familiarization flights.

The instruction and experience requirement is part of Evergreen’s FAA-approved training program.  The flights in question operated from Aug. 23 to Sept. 19, 2009.

Evergreen has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the Agency.


Zambian authorities suspend Zambezi Airlines’ AOC over safety issues

November 3, 2011

Effective November 1, 2011 Zambezi Airlines was grounded by the Zambian Minister of Transport, Works and Supply.

The Air Operator Certificate was suspended because the airline “posed a risk to passengers” as it operated outside Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) guidelines. A government spokesman reported that the airline employed air crew staff that had not been cleared by the DCA. Also, it failed to report an incident on a local flight and allowed pilots to work beyond the stipulated work schedule. Local and international routes were flown with aircraft that had faulty oxygen masks.

The ban may be lifted when the airline has corrected all issues within six to eight weeks.

The airline was founded in 2008 and operated three Boeing 737-500 passenger jets on regional services.


U.S. FAA creates web page for laser incident reporting

October 28, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a new website to make it easier for pilots and the public to report laser incidents and obtain information on the subject. Lasers pointed at aircraft are a growing concern.

The website, which can be found at,collects a wide array of laser information into one location. It includes links for reporting laser incidents, laser statistics, FAA press releases, and FAA research on the dangers lasers can pose to pilots, as well as downloadable videos.

Laser event reports have increased steadily since the FAA created a formal reporting system in 2005 to collect information from pilots. Reports rose from nearly 300 in 2005 to 1,527 in 2009 and 2,836 in 2010.

This year, pilots reported 2,795 laser events through Oct. 20. Pilots have reported the most laser events in 2011 in Phoenix (96), Philadelphia (95) and Chicago (83).

The FAA began addressing the problem in 2005 by encouraging pilots to report laser events to the nearest air traffic control facility and requiring facilities to immediately relay that information to local law enforcement agencies. In June 2011, the FAA announced it would start imposing civil penalties of up to $11,000 against people who interfere with a flight crew by pointing a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft. The agency is currently working on 18 civil penalty cases.

Over the past few years, people have been charged under local, state and federal criminal statues for pointing lasers at aircraft, and legislation is pending that would make it a specific federal crime. The FAA is prepared to work with all law enforcement agencies to assist with criminal prosecutions.

The increase in annual laser reports is likely due to a number of factors, including the availability of inexpensive laser devices on the Internet; increased power levels that enable lasers to reach aircraft at higher altitudes; more pilot reporting of laser strikes; and the introduction of green and blue lasers, which are more easily seen than red lasers.

U.S. FAA proposes $1 Million in civil penalties against Pinnacle Airlines

October 21, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing $1,042,500 in civil penalties against Pinnacle Airlines, Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., for allegedly operating two aircraft on a combined 63 flights when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges Pinnacle operated a Canadair Regional Jet on 23 flights between April 30 and May 4, 2009 on which flight crew members performed procedures that should have been performed by maintenance employees, after FAA inspectors had denied an airline request to make the work an operations task instead of a maintenance task.

The airline’s general maintenance manual requires maintenance workers to install and remove a cable kit when operating an aircraft with an inoperative or missing wheel assembly for the passenger door. Instead, flight crew members performed the procedure on the flights in question. The proposed civil penalty for this violation is $625,000.

The FAA also alleges Pinnacle failed to complete inspections of the low-pressure turbine case on a Canadair Regional Jet.  The inspections were to identify and track growth of a crack in the case to make sure the crack did not grow to exceed the maximum allowable length.  The inspections required by the airline’s continuous airworthiness maintenance program must be done every 300 to no more than 600 operating hours.

The FAA said Pinnacle let 640 operating hours pass between a May 22, 2010 inspection and a subsequent inspection on Aug. 31, 2010.  During that time, a 3.5-inch crack grew to four inches in length. The FAA alleges the airline operated the aircraft on 40 passenger flights between Aug. 25 and 31, when it was not in compliance.  The proposed civil penalty for this violation is $417,500.

Pinnacle Airlines has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letters to respond to the Agency.

U.S. FAA proposes $160,000 in civil penalties against SkyWest Airlines

October 19, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $160,000 against SkyWest Airlines of St. George, Utah, for allegedly operating four regional jet aircraft on four revenue passenger flights when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges SkyWest failed to follow its procedures for documenting cargo and baggage, and as a result operated those flights with incorrect weight, balance, cargo and baggage load data.

The four flights operated Mar. 3, 2011, from San Diego; Phoenix; Omaha; and Missoula, Mont., to Salt Lake City. The FAA alleges the airline operated the flights without a load manifest that accurately reflected the weight of the cargo and baggage, when the total weight of the aircraft was not computed under approved procedures, and when the aircraft were not loaded according to an approved load schedule.

SkyWest has paid civil penalties in eight previous cases involving improper weight, balance and loading calculations and documentation.

SkyWest has 30 days from receipt of the civil penalty letter to respond to the Agency.

Authorities suspend AOC of Dutch operator Solid-aiR

September 28, 2011

The Dutch Transport and Water Management Inspectorate (IVW) has suspended the AOC of  operator Solid-aiR for safety reasons.

Effective September 28, 2011 the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Solid-aiR is suspended for a period of three months. During a safety audit the Inspectorate found several shortcomings with regards to crew training and defect reporting. Also, violations were found of duty and rest schedules for pilots, incident reporting and violations in flight operations.

The Inspectorate states that these findings were serious and of a structural nature, leading to the suspension. The suspension will be lifted when the company successfully demonstrates its ability to conduct safe operations.

According to the Dutch civil aircraft register, the airline operates one Bombardier Challenger 850, one Cessna 525 CitationJet, two  Cessna 550 Citation Bravo’s, one Cessna 560 Citation V, fourCessna 650 Citation VI’s, one Dassault Falcon 900, one Piaggio P.180 Avanti, and one Raytheon Premier 1.

More information:

FAA proposes $1.9 Million civil penalty against Colgan Air

September 16, 2011

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $1,892,000 against Colgan Air, of Manassas, Va., a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines, for allegedly allowing flight attendants to work on 172 revenue passenger flights when they were not properly trained to use the planes’ cabin fire extinguisher system.

The 84 newly-hired flight attendants worked flights on the Bombardier DHC-8 Dash 8-Q400 twin turbo-prop aircraft between Nov. 3 and Nov. 9, 2009 after the FAA told Colgan the flight attendants had not completed the required training.

The FAA inspected the carrier’s new-hire flight attendant training for the Q400 on Nov. 2, 2009. The FAA alleges the new Colgan flight attendants were trained with fire extinguishers used on the airline’s Saab 340s, which operate differently than those used on the Q400.

Colgan has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

FAA proposes $1.1 Million civil penalty against Aviation Technical Services

September 12, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $1.1 million civil penalty against Aviation Technical Services, Inc. (ATS), of Everett, Wash., for allegedly making improper repairs to 44 Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300s.

The FAA alleges that ATS failed to accomplish all the work required by three FAA airworthiness directives calling for five repetitive inspections and a one-time inspection to find and repair fatigue cracks in the fuselage skins of the planes. The inspections are part of Southwest’s Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program.

After the inspections, ATS allegedly failed to install fasteners in all the rivet holes within the time specified for the task. The drying time of the required sealant dictates the window available to complete installation of the fasteners.

The aircraft involved returned to service between Dec. 1, 2006 and Sept.18, 2009.

The Southwest Airlines B-737-300 that suffered a fuselage crown failure in April 2011 is not one of the aircraft listed in the proposed civil penalty. ATS did not perform inspection and repair work on that aircraft prior to the April fuselage failure.

Aviation Technical Services has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.


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